This week my training mainly took place in North London thanks to a very groovy sixties party held by the fabulous Martin Stone to celebrate his half century.
I had to do a 4 mile, 3 mile, 5 mile set. Fortunately Martin and Gary back on to the woodland way that runs from Finsbury Park up to Muswell Hill so I had a beautiful green, shady and traffic-free start. And the weather was amazing.
I found there is one big difference between running in the Peak District and running in North London – apart from the hills. I had progressed as I would usually when passing fellow runners with a panting but cheerful “hello”, “nice day for it”. Nothing, no response, nada, tumbleweed rolling through a deserted cowboy town. “Ok,” I thought, “I am being too full on and I am a red, sweaty mess. I’ll ease up”. I downgraded to a wave, a semi-smile and a “hi”. Still nothing.
Discouraged, I came back to Martin to check out whether it was because I had the wrong haircut, clothes, trainers or what. He is a marathon runner so trains on this route all the time. ” Saying hello?! Talking of the weather?! Waving?! No, No and again No,” he said, “You have to master the North London Nod.”
Armed with my local info, I sallied out the next day to try it. My first couple of tries were a failure. I looked a bit like Benny Hill with his teeth out. By my third effort, I was starting to get results. Not a 100% success rate, but at least 50% reaction. Sometimes a nod back, sometimes just a raised eyebrow, and from one lovely couple who were eating their sarnies on a bench a whole wave and a “hello”. I felt that I had arrived!
And one massive bonus of the route, I worked out my five miler to end at the Crouch End Lido for a swim. Bliss!
Training this week: 3 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles.